- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2006

Nobles: Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for appreciating that the nation remains at war with a barbaric enemy.

Here is not the place to analyze the monstrosity of Supreme Court jurisprudence that is the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision. Rather, it is the proper place to honor the three dissenting justices, who rightly disgusted with their peers’ reasoning.

Wrote Justice Scalia: “[The majority’s] conclusion is patently erroneous.” Justice Thomas: Hamdan “openly flouts our well-established duty to respect the executive’s judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs.” More of Justice Thomas’ anger: “We are not engaged in a traditional battle with a nation-state, but with a worldwide, hydra-headed enemy, who lurks in the shadows conspiring to reproduce the atrocities of September 11, 2001, and who has boasted of sending suicide bombers into civilian gatherings, has proudly distributed videotapes of beheadings of civilian workers and has tortured and dismembered captured American soldiers.?

Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito get it, and that’s why they are this week’s Nobles.

Knaves: Susan Roberts, who, for a political science professor, doesn’t know much about political science.

It is impossible to know when exactly a student learns about the Constitution and the basic workings of the three branches of the federal government. But surely it has to be some time before a student earns her doctorate, especially in political science.

But considering Mrs. Roberts’ Monday op-ed in the Charlotte Observer on the flag-burning amendment (which was recently defeated in the Senate) that might not be the case.

Following the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision upholding one’s right to burn the flag, she writes, “Congress passed the Flag Protection Act just months after the ruling. Wasting no time, the Supreme Court ruled that the Flag Protection Act was inconsistent with First Amendment freedoms and thus unconstitutional.”

Then she says, “It seems unlikely that the Supreme Court would now uphold an amendment prohibiting flag burning, even with the change in the court’s composition.”

For those who don’t have a junior high degree, the Supreme Court can’t overturn constitutional amendments. Mind you, “Dr.” Roberts is an associate professor of political science at Davidson College — arguably one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

The Observer published a correction Thursday, saying Mrs. Roberts meant to write “uphold legislation” instead of “uphold an amendment.” But the point of her op-ed was to criticize the flag-burning amendment, not some non-existent bill, which makes the corrected sentence even less coherent than the original.

So, for confusing the judicial branch with the legislative branch, “Professor” Roberts is the Knave of the week.

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